Now, will arrest officials: NGT
Furious over the complacency of the Centre and the Delhi government regarding vehicular pollution, the National Green Tribunal threatened to issue arrest warrants against officials.
The Tribunal wants top officials involved in the construction of the peripheral roads to attend court hearings and provide a plan on the completion of the bypass. The road will ensure that a chunk of the most polluting vehicles, like diesel-run trucks, will not enter Delhi.
The judges have also given the state government 48 hours to prepare a report on how many old vehicles are flouting pollution norms in view of Delhi government’s submission that few vehicles entering Delhi have been found to be violating pollution norms.
The Delhi government blames incoming vehicles contributing to soaring levels of air pollution. It contended that 15 lakh vehicles coming from outside Delhi are responsible for pollution levels to rise, leading the Tribunal to insist on the road officials’ presence in court. “According to the government of India, vehicles do not cause pollution and according to the state government vehicles from outside cause pollution,” the court said. During the last hearing in the case, the Centre had maintained that vehicular pollution is a minor contributor — only 17 per cent — to the overall air pollution in Delhi.
More than the vehicles, it is the quality of fuel that contributes to pollution, the Centre has submitted.
The irked Tribunal, which had asked for an account of the measures taken to curb pollution, said even if the IIT report the Centre was quoting “were to be believed, what accounts for the remaining 83 per cent?”
Even data from the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences shows close to 50 per cent of air pollution in Delhi comes from vehicles.